Last night I joined Jeff and Genna at their apartment in Astoria along with several other nice folks, to celebrate Jeff's 27th birthday. Genna and I became friends in the Winter of 2001 while working on a play, and we've been friends ever since. Jeff entered the picture a few years later, but the connection was as easy and comfortable with him as it had been with her from the get-go (at least for me, I should let them speak for themselves).
Every year Genna tops her previous year's cake, and this was no exception. Made only with chocolate and eggs, it was a slice of mousse-like, fudgy goodness, garnished with red raspberries; she was heart-broken later when she realized she'd forgotten the fresh whipped cream, but frankly I think what we had was perfection itself. The cake of course followed a mountain of other goodies, including Genna's spinach dip. I'm not the only one who looks forward to this dip; late comers to the party sighed with relief when they arrived to find it had not yet run out. The dip reminded me, if I hadn't noticed it already, that Jeff and Genna have been part of every important celebration in my life for a few years now. Just in the past six months we've celebrated Thanksgiving, New Year's and now Jeff's birthday together, each time with good food, red wine, a nice mix of friends, conversations ranging widely in topic and tone, and yes, some spinach dip. We also have no qualms about creating a celebration whenever we feel the need. Having these two as part of my New York family has been a blessing, helping to root me in a place where I so often feel rootless. We may go months without seeing one another, life here being on the frantic side a lot, but when we reconnect, it's as if no time has passed. We weigh down another groaning table with goodies (even when it's just the three of us, we cook for an army), crack open another bottle of wine, and pick up where we left off with the conversation.
Happy Birthday, Pal. Thanks for sharing your celebrations, thoughts, questions, confusions, frustrations, silliness and cooking with me. My life is the richer for it.